Heading into the championship match of the Streator Invitational on Saturday, the Morris soccer team wanted to go for the kill shot against La Salle-Peru. Ricardo Del Toro did so in a big way.
Just 11 seconds into the match, the junior forward bolted into the Cavaliers’ backfield, intercepted the opening kickoff and scored for the Redskins.
It was the first goal in what turned to be a 7-1 blowout and marking the second straight year Morris has won the event.
Del Toro’s goal is the fastest goal by a Redskins player to start a match.
“They kicked it back and the guy lost it,” Del Toro said. “They tried to kick it all the way back to the last defender and he messed up the pass. I just picked it, shot to the far corner and put it in.
“It was a solid shot that went off the post and into the net.”
Other than an assist from the L-P defense, the goal was officially unassisted.
“Honestly, I’ve never seen it before,” Morris coach David Valdivia said of the 11-second goal.
“It was a big boost,” Del Toro said.
Two minutes after that first goal, Del Toro assisted a goal that was put in by Nick Borgstrom.
“I took it down to the corner, down to the goal line when I saw Nick wide open,” Del Toro said. “I passed it to him and it went in.”
L-P broke up the momentum just slightly at 31:04 when Maria Vazquez scored, but from there on it was all Redskins.
Chava Villanueva scored an unassisted goal for Morris one minute later and Del Toro scored his second goal of the day off of a rebound about a minute and a half after Chava’s goal.
“Coach always tells us to follow up on our shots and wants us to be aware that the keeper could always drop it,” Del Toro said. “It was a matter of following up.”
Del Toro would go on to post his second hat trick of the season when he scored in the 59th minute off an assist from Luke Rodriguez.
Kyle Schroder scored a rebound goal in the 31st minute and the remaining goal recorded by Morris came off the foot of Borgstrom.
“In the second half, I wanted a lot of crosses and shots from the outside,” Valdivia said. “That’s what they did. The only thing is that you can see that we need to work on shooting from the outside.
“But I’m not complaining. The kids played good. They were unselfish and that’s what I wanted to see. This is a team that is building up towards something. Hopefully we can now go on and do this against Kaneland and DeKalb and teams like that. But we still have a lot of work to do.”
Morris now is 5-0-1 on the season including claiming the championship at both the Earlville and now the Streator Tournaments.
“I think this will help us with our confidence,” Del Toro said.
“We’re going to be able to play bigger and better teams now and will be able to play with confidence. I think we’re growing as a team and getting better.”
The Streator Tournament was established just last year and Morris now is 4-0-2 in matches in that tournament.
“This makes me feel good, especially since we are after a winning season this year,” Valdivia said.
“Hopefully we can then win the [Northern Illinois Big 12 East] Conference, a sectional and hopefully get to state. But the guys are going to need to continue to work at it. This is a special team.”